Anonymous asked: Do you have any advice to new animators?
I’ve been getting a lot of anonymous asks recently about how to begin learning animation, so I figured I’d answer to the best of my ability.
So you want to learn animation! Here’s my advice to you.
1. Pick a medium to animate with. Everything up on my Tumblr was animated in Flash, but there are a lot of options (several of them better than Flash in the long run). There’s a whole host of 3D programs I’m not overly familiar with other than Maya, and for 2D you’ve got Flash, the various Toon Boom programs, TVPaint, and a freeware program called Pencil (Google it!). Learn the ins and outs of the program.
Or animate on paper. I did in college, and it’s still relevant today. The principles of animation do not change between any programs! Heck, you can animate with cave paintings, because ancient man did.
2. Learn to animate. I know that sounds broad. But what I mean is there are multiple places to learn animation. You can learn from a book, learn from tutorials online, or attend classes.
I went to college for animation. I have no regrets. It was a lot of fun, I got to work on personal films, and I learned so much. Some people will say “screw college, you don’t need it to learn animation.” There is definite truth to that, you CAN learn on your own. But for me, learning from a mentor made a huge difference. One of my professors was a former Disney animator. She kicked my ass up and down the classroom trying to get me to be better. And she did. I improved a hell of a lot.
Alternatively, you can learn from many books which will help you along the way. These are just a few! Learning the animation program is the (relatively) easy part—learning the animation process is what takes diligence and practice.
3) Animate what you enjoy. This is the reason that I do a bunch of dumb video game cartoons. I animate them because they’re characters I’m familiar with and feel comfortable drawing. I’m not saying you should make an entire short film about Nintendo characters, but doing this kind of thing as little projects allows me to practice animation principles with familiar things. It makes it fun for me.
4) Watch a lot of cartoons. One of the dumbest things ever said to me was a girl way back in high school: “Why do you watch cartoons? You’re interested in MAKING them.” I had to end the conversation there. You watch cartoons because you’re studying as you watch. So take in a wide variety. Learn the difference in animation style between an old black and white Fleischer cartoons and Disney cartoons of the same era. Compare that to the Disney movies of the 80s and 90s. Know the differences in style and timing be tween the major directors at Warner Bros.
So that’s that! One question asked how long I’ve been animating. I guesssss it’s been about nine years since I first entered college, and I’ve been out for five of those years working professionally as an animator and storyboarder. But you don’t have to start in college. There are SO many programs available to try right now. All of those programs have trials, and out of all of them, I’d really recommend learning Toon Boom Animate (I sure as hell need to). Flash is still the predominant animation program at small studios in the US, but that’s changing.
So good luck to everyone who wrote that is interested in animating! I hope you all try it out.